Taking A Second Look At Salvation

Keith KettenringChristian Living, The Uncommon Journey

When you practice spiritual disciplines, follow a prayer rule, or engage in liturgy are you pursuing a “works-righteousness?”  Some people think so. Therefore, they dismiss any kind of efforts to become more Christlike. That this thinking even enters the conversation indicates a warped understanding of salvation. 

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Salvation is not merely a ticket to heaven or a system of beliefs that make a person right with God. Salvation is more like entering a flowing river (of God’s life) to be carried to where you need to go rather than trying (apart from God) to get there on your own. 

In my last post, I emphasized that the concept of salvation by “faith alone” is not a biblical reality. This post clarifies a few realities related to salvation. 

A few truths for clarity 

  • Salvation is by faith. 
  • Salvation is not by works. Nothing a person does merits/earns salvation; obligates God to save. 
  • Salvation is initiated and made available by the purposes and grace (love, goodness, kindness) of God. It is always the free gift of God. 
  • Salvation is the work of God you enter into, participate in or receive in some manner. 
  • Salvation is Jesus Christ the Savior not a theory or ideology. 

A deeper look at “salvation”

  1. Salvation is much more than most of us realize. Salvation is actually being in union with the Holy Trinity through Jesus Christ. It is the life of God completely filling our lives. It is oneness with God. Nothing less. Reducing salvation to getting us into heaven when we die is like saying the Apollo 11 spacecraft is only a firecracker. 
  2. A person is saved, is being saved, and will be saved only by participating in God. Actually, God, from whom salvation comes, is outside time. Could it be that God actually provides salvation only in the present? We experience salvation in time. However to God, salvation just is. 
  3. The word “salvation” includes justification, reconciliation, sanctification, and glorification. Salvation is the word used to describe the whole package. It is the whole package. (1 Corinthians 6.11)
  4. Above all, salvation is a mystery. How is it possible for an infinitely holy God and a finite sinful human to become one? 

Much of this may challenge your understanding of salvation. I invite you to let your understanding be challenged. You’ve probably made some life-long assumptions about salvation that need a second look. 

I say all this to say, it’s clear that I am not talking about “works-righteousness” when it comes to salvation or Christian practices. How you enter and live out salvation is always a work of God’s divine grace and mercy in which you participate. You cannot make yourself righteous. 

There is more to come…

Dr. K